Whether you are coming in your own car
from home or hiring a car once you get here, getting away from
traffic jams and out onto Scotland’s quiet roads can really put the
fun back into driving.
In order to drive in Scotland, non-UK citizens
will need to supplement their national driving licence with an
international driving permit, available from state and national
motoring organizations at home for a small fee.
If you're bringing your own car into the UK you
should also carry your vehicle registration or ownership document
at all times. Furthermore, you must be adequately insured, so be
sure to check your existing policy.
Driving on the left
In Scotland, as elsewhere in the UK, driving is
always on the left-hand side of the road.
Driving licence and
Holders of overseas driving licences are
permitted to drive motor vehicles for up to 12 months in the UK.
Visitors bringing their own cars from overseas should ensure they
possess green-card insurance and bring their car registration
documents with them.
Unless otherwise signposted, maximum speed limits
on UK roads are:
Motorways: 70 mph/ 112kph (60 mph/ 96 kph for
cars towing caravans or trailers)
Dual carriageways: 70 mph/ 112kph (60 mph/ 96 kph
for cars towing caravans or trailers)
Built-up areas: 30 mph/ 48 kph
Outside built-up areas: 60 mph/ 96 kph (50 mph/
80 kph for cars towing caravans or trailers)
Unmarked police cars patrol regularly and remote
speed cameras are positioned on many roads.
In general, regular traffic congestion is only
severe on the major access roads to and from cities such as
Edinburgh and Glasgow during morning and evening rush hours (7.30 -
9.30 am and 4.00 - 6.30 pm).
One of the pleasures about driving in Scotland is
being able to escape the pressures of urban roads onto the
tranquility and isolation of the rural road network.
Driving on these roads can be a delight with
marvellous scenery around every corner - just don't expect to get
to your destination in a hurry!
In remote areas of the Highlands, roads are
regularly single track with passing places. These work really well
with a little thought and consideration. It is best to drive
defensively, always looking ahead for oncoming vehicles.
If you encounter a car approaching you, stop at
the first passing place you come across to allow the other motorist
to pass. If the other driver reaches a passing place before you do,
they will stop to allow you to continue.
It is also common in remote areas to encounter
grazing sheep and other wildlife wandering by the roadside and care
is needed when passing them.
There are currently no toll roads or bridges in
Roundabouts are a standard feature of the Scottish road system.
Visitors from North America may be less familiar with their use
while those from other European countries should be aware that the
priority system for traffic may differ from that used in their home
The rules for using roundabouts here are simple:
give way to all vehicles coming from your right and always turn
left on entering the roundabout.
Many fuel stations, particularly in urban areas, are open 24 hours
a day and all provide unleaded, lead-replacement petrol and diesel.
In rural areas, distances between stations are greater and opening
hours may be shorter so it is best to keep your car filled up if
travelling here. Fuel is priced and sold by the litre.
Using mobile (cell) phones while
Be aware that it is illegal to use a hand-held phone, or similar
device, when driving. Drivers still risk prosecution for failure to
have proper control if they use hands-free phones when driving.